By Michael O'Brien | Posted: 08/25/09 01:43 PM [ET] - 08/25/09 01:43 PM EDT
A freshman House Democrat from Alabama said Tuesday he would not vote for Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as Speaker again because of her “divisive and polarizing” image.
“I would not vote for her,” Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Ala.) told a constituent at a town hall meeting when asked if he'd support Pelosi. “Someone that divisive and that polarizing cannot bring us together.”
Griffith told constituents that only Blue Dog Democrats could prevent the healthcare bill from moving forward in the House, The Huntsville Times reported. He said that conservative Republicans couldn't stop Democratic priorities.
The first-term lawmaker won last fall with 52 percent of the vote in a district carried by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). He’s expected to face a tough reelection challenge from a Republican next fall.
Analysts have highlighted Griffith's district as one likely to flip to Republican control next fall. The Cook Political Report recently projected that Democrats could lose at least 20 seats in next year's midterm elections.
Griffith joked that if Pelosi didn't care for his criticism, he has a message for her.
"If she doesn't like it, I've got a gift certificate to the mental health center," he said, according to the Times.
In 2007 and again in 2009, Pelosi received unanimous support from House Democrats in the elections for Speaker.
This article was updated at 2:40 p.m.